Friday, January 20, 2006

Android #7: best actor

While I’m waiting to see Match Point and Transamerica, I’ll go ahead and give the best actor ANDROID as those don’t have actors touted as something that might be award worthy. First the contenders…

Terrance Howard for Crash and Hustle and Flow. Howard burst onto the radar in 2005 with these two electric roles from two films I really loved. His smooth talking Memphis pimp in Hustle and Flow is the Rocky Balboa of pimp-rap films.

Daniel Day-Lewis for The Ballad of Jack and Rose. The film is flawed and a bit naïve, the performance of Day-Lewis however, was up to his usual standards of brilliance. The saddest thing about Day-Lewis is he just doesn’t act much anymore. He’d rather be off in Italy learning to make shoes or some other intense hobby. The man is just the best actor to grace the screen the past 20 years in my opinion.

Jeff Daniels for The Squid and the Whale and Good Night, And Good Luck. Another dual role nominee is long time favorite Daniels, who is starting to really amass a varied list of roles in his career. In Squid, he grows a massive beard and delivers one of the best performances of his career. In Goodnight, he proves he can deliver a measured, small, character role with the best of them.

Robert Downey Jr. for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Good Night, And Good Luck. Downey is another double role nominee along with Howard and Daniels. Good Night’s entire cast was great and Downey has a terrific, small part but it’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang that really sees him in his element as a fast talking criminal pretending to be an actor lost in the Hollywood muck.

And the ANDROID goes to…

Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote. So good is Hoffman playing Truman Capote that this was an easy one for me. I’ve been a fan of Hoffman’s since I saw him in 1992’s Scent of A Woman and try to watch everything he does. Who could forget his role as Dusty in the classic guilty pleasure Oklahoma weather flick Twister? I’ll even go see Mission Impossible 3 hoping that Hoffman gets to kill “Grinnin’” Tom Cruise as he’s playing the heavy in that film. But the 5-4 Cruise will save the day to go convert more people to Scientology and rail against psychiatry.

From the first seconds of Capote, Hoffman is in complete control in a complicated and deep role as the conflicted author who gets too close to his subjects. It’s a mesmerizing and difficult performance that is never just Hoffman copying Capote’s uniqueness—he crafts a complex character, as Hoffman often does, that buries into you as the film develops. It’s the best role of his career and Hoffman is up for the challenge.

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